“Symbolic Essence” And Other Writings On Modern Architecture And American Culture

Jordy, William H.
Bacon, Mardges
Date published: 
June 2005

Historian and architectural critic William H. Jordy (1917–1997) significantly shaped the way we understand the character and meaning of modern architecture and American culture. This collection of his thought-provoking essays encompasses Jordy’s entire career and includes his signature essay, “The Symbolic Essence of Modern Architecture of the Twenties and Its Continuing Influence”. The collection also contains critical writings on works by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, and Robert Venturi as well as significant but less well-known pieces and one previously unpublished text.

Generously illustrated, the book demonstrates the range and depth of Jordy’s thinking. Mardges Bacon’s insightful introduction to the volume situates Jordy’s essays in historical and architectural context and offers a concise intellectual biography of this original and influential thinker.

Mardges Bacon is Matthews Distinguished University Professor and professor of art and architecture, Northeastern University.

A Buell Center/Columbia Book of Architecture. Published in association with the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University.